The British market research company Context has published an overview of the worldwide development in sales of 3D printers in 2018 . It shows that industrial printing systems, in particular, are enjoying increased demand: they have recorded a growth of around 27% and in some cases account for 70% of the overall revenue in the sector. The demand for plastic printers alone increased by 12% in the first three quarters of 2018. Sales of metal printers also grew, especially in the comparatively cheap new device class ranging between $100,000 and $125,000. By comparison: in 2017, the average price of systems of this sort was $479,000.
Optimization of sintering technologies in metal 3D printing could provide another boost: according to a study by AM Power , a Hamburg-based consultancy company for additive manufacturing, around 40% of costs could be saved compared to the laser melting process. However, the sintering process also has some disadvantages in terms of processing quality in some areas of application at the moment.